Belarus set to introduce the death penalty for treason among officials and military

Belarus set to introduce the death penalty for treason among officials and military. Image: exsilentroot/Shutterstock.com

LAWMAKERS in Belarus are reportedly looking to introduce the death penalty for “treason” for officials and military after deputies of the lower house of the country’s parliament voted for the corresponding bill in the first reading.

Belarus look set to introduce the death penalty for “treason”, a report from the press service of the Belarusian House of Representatives read.

According to the document, an official can be sentenced to death for high treason.

“The draft law proposes amending the second part of Article 356 of the Criminal Code,” “Treason. The innovations provide for “the possibility of applying the exceptional measure of punishment in the form of death penalty for the treason against the state, committed by an official holding public office or a person who has the status of a military man.

“In this regard, Articles 58 “life imprisonment” and 59 “death penalty” of the Criminal Code are also brought into line,” said the press service.

The press service also noted that changes to the legislation were being introduced to “have a deterrent effect on destructive elements as well as to demonstrate a resolute fight against treason against the state.”

The bill also provides an exemption from punishment for a person who “participated in the preparation of an attack on institutions” but “timely warned state authorities” or “otherwise assisted in preventing” a terrorist attack, according to the Telegram channel of the lower house of the Belarusian parliament.

“The purpose of preparing the draft law is to take proactive measures for the commission of crimes of extremist (terrorist) orientation,” the report explains.

In addition, according to the draft law, a person may be exempted from criminal liability “for preparatory actions to sabotage in case of its prevention”.

“An addition is made to the disposition of Article 369-1 of the Criminal Code in order to establish responsibility for dissemination of deliberately false information, discrediting the Armed Forces, other troops and military formations, paramilitary organisations of the Republic of Belarus,” added in the press service of the Belarusian parliament.

They explained that MPs believe that the introduction of this legal norm is “an effective preventive measure against distribution of false false information about the Belarusian army and other “power structures.

  • Belarus is the only state in Europe and CIS where the death penalty has not been abolished. In the 1996 referendum, the country’s citizens voted for keeping the death penalty. This measure was supported by 80.5 pre cent of Belarusians.
  • The death penalty can be imposed on men who committed a crime after the age of 18 and have not reached the age of 65 by the time of sentencing. The highest punishment is death by firing squad.
  • More than 400 people have been shot in Belarus since 1990; the number of death sentences has decreased since 2000.

According to the Criminal Code of Belarus, men can be sentenced to death if they have unleashed and conducted an aggressive war, engaged in international terrorism, or killed one or more people.

Capital punishment is also foreseen for genocide, crimes against the security of humanity (for example, illegal detention, slavery) and the use of weapons of mass destruction. None of the articles, however, require a mandatory death sentence.

The bill also provides for the release from punishment of a person who “participated in the preparations for an attack on institutions”, but “timely warned state bodies” or “otherwise assisted in preventing” a terrorist attack,” according to the Telegram channel of the lower house of the Belarusian parliament.

“The purpose of preparing the draft law is to take preventive measures for committing crimes of an extremist (terrorist) nature,” the report read.

In addition, according to the bill, a person can be released from criminal liability “for preparatory actions for sabotage if it is prevented.”

The news comes after Russia appeared to make a decision on whether or not they would be reintroducing the death penalty.

Following reports that Russia was looking to bring back the death penalty after the school shooting tragedy in Izhevsk back in September, the head of the Russian Constitutional Court has given the clearest indication of whether or not it would return.

While speaking at the 10th All-Russian Congress of Judges, Valery Zorkin appeared to make a decision on the death penalty returning to Russia.

Valery Zorkin said on Tuesday, November 29 that Russia’s withdrawal from the Council of Europe and tense historical times were no reason to bring back the death penalty in the country.

“The heightened tension of a particular historical time is not a reason to create an unjustified bias towards severity,” he said.

Russian state-controlled media outlet RIA reported that Zorkin added that Russia needed to demonstrate to society the humanistic nature of Russian law and law enforcement.

He said Russia needed to purposefully “introduce goodness, humanity and humanism into the life of society” through available legal means.

“Under such circumstances, it would be a very bad signal to society to abandon the moratorium on the death penalty in Russia now,” he added.

A new Constitution would be required to return the death penalty.


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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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